Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Raiding Recession?

I am seeing a lot more people apply to our guild after the new patch. Some are from players that want to break into raiding, and some are from guilds that fell apart after Naxx boredom/Ulduar shock killed their guild.

There are only so many players a raiding guild can comfortably handle before they become too many or not enough. I use a sponge as an analogy. If the sponge doesn't have enough water for a long enough time, it becomes dry and cracks; a guild like this will most likely split off into several directions/new guilds. If a guild has too much water, the excess simply falls away from it; players not being utilized in the raid will quit and find other guilds that can better utilize them.

It seems to me that on my server there aren't enough jobs for people that want to raid the new content. Well, not exactly that, but there are people leftover that want to raid, but can't find a spot to do so; simultaneously there isn't enough critical mass in the leftover raiders to organize a new group of players to fill an entire raid.

People seem to be still stuck in the BC mentality that raiding = 25man. Ten man raiding is thriving and is at a better place than ever it seems, but if I was a 10man raider it would eventually go dry and I would want to go back to the 25man stuff. It seems that it would not take much effort to start raiding 10 man stuff, and eventually merging guilds to get into 25 mans again;that transition is sometimes such a shock that some guilds don't survive it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Argent Tournament, take 2

So, the dailys at the champion level is not as bad as I said.

I can be done with about 12 dailys (including fishing and cooking) and what is nice is that the objectives for the valiant double count with the champion quests. So in essence, you don't have to do the quests twice. Thumbs up.

The champion duels are still a little lame but are easy enough. I think I am down to 5 minutes to best four champions.

So, all said and done, I can net about 170g in one hour. Not bad. Plus I can get the red chicken after a week or two.

Greedy Goblin posted on the economics of Healing/Tanking/DPS, where he called non DPS players slaves to bad players. I disagree; one excellent tank/healer a raid does not make. He believes that the free market economics and Pareto optimal situations act as an invisible hand, but in a social environment this breaks down tremendously. This is not a game of predictable actions, this is a very emotional game where people do not often behave rationally. I for example spent a weekend grinding old world quests to get rep with the Gnomer Exiles just so I could ride a robot chicken. People sometimes do things that just don't make sense.

I am a pretty good tank, but somehow I don't think if I started to charge for my services that there would be a market for that. Maybe I could charge people to get acheivements that get them a nice pretty red drake, but I doubt a) people know what they want and b) that they would pay money for it. At least the rational people that I know.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Argent Tournament

So, I have been doing the Argent Tournament daily's on and off for the last week, and I am glad and discouraged at the same time at the approach the developers have taken with it. I went into it thinking these would be simple kill ten rats and fed ex quests that would be quick (see SSO dailys from sunwell) and net some nice coin. I was half right.

There are three levels of dailys: Aspirant, Valiant, and Champion. You start out as an aspirant, and you do some basic combat quests, fetching swords from princesses and killing some scourge. Pretty simple. These quests give some nice coin, as well as Aspirant tokens. After you collect so many aspirant tokens you can turn them in to become a Valiant and the whole process starts over. Valiant quests are slightly harder, more to kill, harder combat training, and you collect your tokens to be a champion. You net more gold but it just takes more time.

Champion quests are retarded. In comparison to the time it takes with regard to aspirant quests, it probably takes double the time per quest, and there are about double the quests. In essence it takes you four times as long to do double the quests for double the aspirant gold, but you get Champion seals to excange for gear, mounts and pets.

I have two reasons for doing these quests: getting some easy gold, and getting the robot chicken mount from championing Gnomeregon. I am not a mount or achievement whore but I have always wanted to ride around on a mechanostrider as it seemed fitting because I will never drop engineering until you pry it from my cold dead hand; Bliz lifting the mount restrictions made me pee a little. Being that I never got to roll a gnome paladin, I have to become a champion of Stormwind first, then start the Gnome Valiant chain, and become a champion of Gnomeregon before I can get the red robot mount. I am also getting rep with some faction I could give 2 craps about, which is better than nothing. If these quests did not give me any gold I probably wouldn't do them solely for the mount, but hey it is something to do between Ulduar raids.

Pros: Good rewards for the non raiders, gold for your troubles, more achievements and mounts.

Cons: More time sucked out of your day depending on your tournament rank, achievements and mounts.

My biggest complaint is how much time you spend doing the mounted dueling, and mounted scourge killing at the champion level. I like a challenge, but the horse dueling is fighting with a computer for about 2-3 minuets in order to kill it. 4 duels can take up to 15 minutes depending on how stingy the NPC. This seems a little backwards in terms of effort/reward.

Mounted scourge killing is this exact situation, but with limited number of mobs to kill. This is frustrating as well, as you are fighting the scourge as well as other players for tagged mobs.

For the OCD completionists, I can see 2 hours of grinding a day for the next 3 months in order to get all their acheivements, mounts, and pets. Eff that. This is good for Blizzard cause it keeps people in the game and paying subscriptions. This is copy paste from the Sunwell dailys but worse. This might be Activision handing down shovelware to keep subscription numbers up, and the sad thing is that it will do exactly that as people will keep playing the game to do this new "content."

Just label me bitter old disgruntled if you want. I know I am. I am just clinging to the glory days of raiding T5 and T6 as a ret paladin =P

I will post more on Ulduar later. So far I am liking the direction that raids have taken (more challenging) but I don't see any less skilled guilds getting very far. We will see when we have done the hard modes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Airline Miles as Currency

Being an engineer (and working with many of them) there are a lot of pauses which become awkward silences. Given enough time, my mind starts to wander into places that most people would consider odd. Not surprisingly these two events intersect quite often. My lunches are the most time I get to freethink during the average workday between all the attendees looking over eachother's shoulders trying to not get caught holding up the conversation and the munching of calories as soon as the food arrives.

My boss and I decided that today was burrito day. He likes to use his credit card at the burrito place so he can earn double rewards on his Discover card. This sparked today's thought.

The thing people lack more than anything in my view is patience. They would rather use resources (money, credit, points) sooner for tangible gratification now than holding off and waiting for something possibly better down the line, which may or may not ever come.

Airlines use frequent flier miles in order to build brand loyalty, and in my view could do a better job to instill that loyalty. I almost prefer not to "earn" them as I know when times get tough, the member rewards programs that companies offer are often the first to go. I am even unsure if there is some sort of airline mile inflation that make redeemable ticket further and further away even though the earning potential remains constant (one mile of flight = one mile point.) Perhaps this is to entice you to sign up for a bonus mile credit card or something of the sort.

The whole point of the program is to give you an incentive to fly with one airline rather than flying with the lowest cost option every time you need to travel. It would seem that airlines could ammend their program to give those with frequent flier miles the option of spending those points on something else rather than holding out for free hotel rooms or flights. Some flights offer in flight TV at an additional charge, as well as premium beverages and snacks which all cost real money.

Why not offer airline services (In flight services, premium seating, additional bag fees) in exchange for airline points as an alternative to paying real money? This all depends on the marginal cost/revenue of these services in relation to the things they currently offer, but it would promote brand loyalty as well as hook those people who don't fly enough to save for a free flight.

I know my boss was sold on the idea if he could watch TV on the plane for free if he could give up some of his earned miles on a flight. I know I would if we could work a resonable Hi-Wifi deal or something. I could farm something I needed in WoW rather than do a sudoku, or kill some brain cells watching TV.